Thursday, December 17, 2009

Important Votes & Statements

Both in DC and here in NY, there have been incredible steps taken and inclusive statements made for the LGBT community.

In the District of Columbia, Council passed the marriage equality bill by a vote of 11 to 2. (Take a hint, NY) This second successful vote now sends the bill to Mayor Fenty who has pledged to sign it. It is so important to have support of this bill in our nation's capitol, making a statement for the entire United States. Congratulations to all of the advocates who have worked tirelessly to bring us to this historic day.

And right here in NY, I couldn't attend because I was in a job interview, but Governor Patterson came to the LGBT community center in Manhattan yesterday where he delivered great news. He issued an executive order extending anti-discrimination policies to gender identity for state employees. This is a step towards the passage of GENDA (Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act) which will protect private employees as well. It is interesting to compare the states that have established the same executive order - they aren't necessarily the states that have marriage equality. "New York joins eight other states in which an executive order, administrative order, or personnel regulation prohibits discrimination against public employees based on sexual orientation and gender identity: DE, IN, KS, KY, MD, MI, OH, and PA. In addition, twelve states and DC prohibit full employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity: CA, CO, IL, IA, ME, MN, NJ, NM, OR, RI, VT, and WA." So that gives us a total of 20 states + DC in which you cannot be fired for being gay, simply put. But that's still less than half. And not acceptable.

OH. and. Dec 12, Houston, Texas elected its first openly gay mayor, Annise Parker. Annise will be in charge of the fourth largest city in America, and is the second woman elected Mayor in Houston's history. Many people in New York helped raise money for her campaign, and obviously those funds were needed to beat her opponent. Annise's campaign fought off very anti-gay attacks, and won with 53.6% of the vote.

Parker, 53, has never shied away from, nor made an issue of, her sexual orientation. She has been with her partner for 19 years and they have two adopted children. "I have always stood up for the fact that I am gay. It's part of the resume that I bring to the table, but it's just a piece of the package," she said. Congrats.


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